Tales from the Broken Glass – Gauntlet at Cragmaw Castle

Tales from the Broken Glass is a series of short stories featuring the Glass Breakers in some particularly difficult situations. This is the first of many.

6 points

Since it’s apparent that I’ll repeatedly be talking about this party in the foreseeable future, I’ll just list all of them here for future reference:

  • Arthur Watanabe – Human Bard 3 (Lore)
  • Riku Umezawa – Human Fighter 3 (Samurai)
  • Makaria “Rare” Ivoryvine – Tiefling Cleric 3 (Knowledge)
  • Jameson Tirlein – Rock Gnome Barbarian 1/Ranger 2
  • Ghesh Yarjerit – White Dragonborn Warlock 3 (Hexblade)
  • Nigel H. Mann – Human Fighter 3 (Battle Master)

This story takes place the morning the Glass Breakers arrive at Cragmaw Castle with the intent of rescuing Gundren Rockseeker, the dwarven prospector that had contracted them to escort some supplies to Phandalin at the beginning of their adventure. By this point, the Glass Breakers no longer had their wizard/cleric friend, Sedrik Schwartz, travelling with them but gained a new party member in a human battle master named Nigel H. Mann.

The party arrived with a part of a plan in mind, with Nigel attempting to distract some of the enemies inside with the noise he would loudly make as he rushed by the side entrance they would take instead of going up front. For the most part, they were doing pretty well and weren’t having too much trouble. However, things started to go wrong when Ghesh foolishly walked into another room, where there were four hobgoblins simply sitting or standing around. The warlock then stared at the group for a brief moment before simply walking out and closing the door, as if nothing had happened.

Entering combat the next round, Jameson, Nigel, and Ghesh managed to make quick work of most of them. There was just one problem – the warlock had hastily cast a Shatter spell on the remaining three hobgoblins. Dealing thunder damage. Which creates a loud booming noise. While well-within enemy territory. Naturally, every other non-boss enemy within the castle was alerted to the sudden noise and immediately began looking for its source.

This is where the gauntlet begins, and how the party was nearly overrun.

At an earlier point, the party had split up due to a few more goblins approaching the party from behind, with one group consisting of Riku and Rare and the other consisting of Ghesh, Nigel, Jameson, and Arthur. The cleric and samurai had gone back through the front entrance, an arrow flying at each of them as they passed.

Rare had planned to examine the room behind one of the doors in the hall, though she failed to notice that a trap had been set at the spot just next to it. She rolled for her Dexterity save, managing to succeed with a 16 and only taking 4 damage. However, things got hairy when two goblins entered from one of the archer posts and opened fire on the cleric, as she was the one within their immediate line of sight. With both arrows managing to make their mark, the cleric was knocked unconscious. Due to past events that occurred long before, I had Riku roll for a Wisdom save, easily succeeding with a 21.

I ruled that brief glimpses of a similar incident occurring in his home village briefly flashed through his mind, but his resolve was as strong as steel. “I’m not making the same mistake twice!” Riku yelled as he then lifted the unconscious cleric into a bridal carry and dashed his way back outside. He was right to make that call too, as even more enemies – including four more hobgoblins – then entered the hall they had just left.

Meanwhile, Arthur – who had a passive Perception of 17 thanks to his Observant feat and being proficient with Perception – had heard a faint voice rapidly shouting “Oh fuck!” in whatever the Forgotten Realms equivalent of the Japanese language was, prompting him to head to their direction and see that Rare was unconscious. Acting quickly, he then cast Healing Word on her, saving her from a slow death that had begun to look just a little more likely as she had already failed one death save when his turn came up.

This was only the beginning for them, however, as another unfamiliar creature – a snake-like monstrosity with no visible eyes and a beak surrounded by four tentacles – then entered the fray, immediately attacking Ghesh – who was the closest to this creature – with its tentacles followed by a beak attack, the latter of which mercifully missed. With the combined efforts from both Ghesh and Nigel, the unknown creature eventually fell.

By this point, the Glass Breakers were essentially holding their ground in one room, fighting off the enemy one at a time. However, this is when they learned just how dangerous hobgoblins are compared to normal goblins. On their own, they deal an expected amount of damage from weapon attacks. However, with an ally not far from their target, they could potentially bring out pain possibly capable of killing off the entire party.

On top of that, it would repeatedly seem that fate had abandoned the party as they kept repeatedly rolling low on their attacks against them, even with advantage granted both by flanking (a house rule we agreed upon) and the bard’s casting of Faerie Fire. Rare soon found her HP back in the single digits, but Arthur had successfully come to her aid once again with another clutch Healing Word – this time, at 2nd level.

On top of his earlier Natural 20 against one of the remaining enemies, the first really good roll after a slew of shit rolls from the party and at least one decent roll, among other feats throughout this gauntlet, the bard was quickly proving himself to be the MVP of that session.

Eventually, the remaining goblins that had been waiting outside got the hint that they were slowly losing their numbers and opted to retreat instead in search of backup. The situation having calmed down for the time being, the Glass Breakers elected to take a breather before continuing forward in their search for the dwarven prospector…

Of course, having somehow gotten themselves through an encounter that may have very well caused a TPK had fate been a little more unkind that day, I decided to award each of the Glass Breakers with an additional 500 experience points, on top of the experience they gained from the enemies they killed – enough to finally get them to Level 4.

Truly, this motley crew of chaotic idiots grew stronger through such an ordeal, and many more are sure to come their way soon. Very soon.

Click here to read part 2


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